The McGowan Government has seemingly abandoned its pledge to prioritise legislation to deter animal activists from committing crimes against lawfully operating WA farms and businesses.
Labor MP Darren West, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture, confirmed the Government’s reprioritisation this week, stating: “it’s time to stop talking about vegans” and “vegans are nowhere near the top of the list” of agricultural issues.
The Nationals WA agriculture spokesperson Colin de Grussa said Mr West had “belled the cat” and exposed Labor’s ambivalence toward the issue.
“As Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture, Mr West has the ear of the Minister and has apparently told the Premier that the threat of activists disrupting lawful businesses is not worth talking about,” Mr de Grussa said.
“This is despite an arrest just this month stemming from activists targeting several abattoirs and businesses in Mr West’s own electorate.
“If Labor MPs spent any time in regional WA they would recognise these criminal activists have not slowed down – in fact, they have been emboldened by the State Government’s lack of action on this issue.”
Mr de Grussa said he was particularly concerned about an upcoming event planned by several recently convicted criminal activists on July 15 and 16.
He said Labor needed to take their heads out of the sand.
“Since August 2018, at least seven people have been charged in relation to trespassing and burglary offences at five rural properties in Western Australia,” Mr de Grussa said.
“In recent months activists have targeted saleyards, truck yards, abattoirs, cafes and restaurants and even schools – wasting police resources, causing untold stress to the public and attempting to destabilise one of WA’s most significant industries.
“Yet the Labor Government has failed time and again to bring any legislation before Parliament to stop these attacks on lawfully operating businesses.”
Mr de Grussa said The Nationals would continue to hold the State Government to account for failing to provide extra protections for farmers, businesses, and their families.
“Darren West did get one thing right, though. He said it’s time to stop talking about vegans. The Nationals have been waiting for Labor to stop talking and take action for more than six months, with no end in sight,” Mr de Grussa said.